The Environment Chronicle

Notable environmental events between 2008 and 2008 Deselect

  1. "First Contact in the Greater Mekong" reports that 1068 species were discovered or newly identified by science between 1997 and 2007.

  2. Butterflies are a well-known and popular group of insects that can play a valuable role as early warning indicators of environmental change. They have short life-cycles and respond rapidly to change. Butterflies have also declined rapidly in recent decades and are declining more rapidly than other well-known groups such as plants and birds (which often depend on their caterpillars for food). This Atlas is an early attempt to investigate the possible effects of climate change on the majority of European butterflies by modelling the impact of various future climate scenarios. The results are important because butterflies are one of the few groups of insects for which such comprehensive data are available at a European level. As insects comprise over two-thirds of all known species, the results are valuable to help understand the possible impacts of climate change on biodiversity as a whole.

  3. For the first time it is now possible to get a comprehensive overview of which alien species are present in Europe, their impacts and consequences for the environment and society. More than 11,000 alien species have been documented by DAISIE (Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventory for Europe), a unique three year research project with more than 100 European scientists, funded by the European Union that provides new knowledge on biological invasions in Europe. Biological invasions by alien species often result in a significant loss in the economic value, biological diversity and function of invaded ecosystems.

  4. The Living Planet Report is WWF's periodic update on the state of the world's ecosystems. This Report uses complementary measures to explore the changing state of global biodiversity and of human consumption. The Living Planet Index reflects the state of the planet’s ecosystems while the Ecological Footprint shows the extent and type of human demand being placed on these systems. The Living Planet Index of global biodiversity has declined by nearly 30 per cent over just the past 35 years. Humanity’s demand on the planet’s living resources, its Ecological Footprint, now exceeds the planet’s regenerative capacity by about 30 per cent.

  5. ECHA has included 15 substances in the Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) for authorisation. The list was published on ECHA website on 28 October 2008. From 28 October 2008, EU & EEA suppliers of articles which contain substances on the Candidate List in a concentration above 0.1% (w/w) must provide sufficient information, available to them, to their customers and on request to consumers within 45 days of the receipt of this request. This information must ensure safe use of the article and, as a minimum, include the name of the substance.

  6. UNESCO is publishing the first-ever world map of shared aquifers to coincide with the submission to the General Assembly of the United Nations on 27 October of a draft Convention on Transboundary Aquifers. Almost 96% of the planet’s freshwater resources are to be found in underground aquifers, most of which straddle national boundaries.

  7. The US-based Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland presents a Top Ten List of the world's worst pollution problems 2008: Artisanal Gold Mining; Contaminated Surface Water; Groundwater Contamination; Indoor Air Pollution, Metals Smelting and Processing; Industrial Mining Activities; Radioactive Waste and Uranium Mining; Untreated Sewage, Urban Air Quality, Used Lead Acid Battery Recycling

  8. The 2008 Red List was released on 6 October 2008, at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona. The study shows at least 1,141 of the 5,487 mammals on Earth are known to be threatened with extinction.

  9. The report presents past and projected climate change and impacts in Europe by means of about 40 indicators and identifies sectors and regions most vulnerable with a high need for adaptation. The report covers the following indicator categories: atmosphere and climate, cryosphere, marine biodiversity and ecosystems, water quantity (including river floods and droughts), freshwater quality and biodiversity, terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity, soil, agriculture and forestry, human health. Furthermore the report shows the need for adaptation actions at EU, national and regional level and the need for enhanced monitoring, data collection and exchange and reducing uncertainties in projections. The report is a joined effort of the European Environment Agency (EEA), the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC-IES) and the World Health Organisation Europe (WHO).